Mark van Hoen
LA based UK born artist Mark Van Hoen continues to contribute to the electronic music fields and fabrics from the inspirations, observations and movements experienced in the past three plus decades. From earlier Eno, Industrial & Krautrock affinities found in the earliest output going back to 1981, to entering the rave and post-rave cultures of acid-house, dance based pulses with his R&S affiliated imprint Apollo Records debut in 1993. With a background working in the media realms of television, radio, film; Mark’s foray into the new electronic etched realms of drone and dance pop saw releases from Touch, Editions Mego, City Centre Offices, The Tapeworm, to Saint Marie Records, and still counting.
Contributing to the double helix of the EDM / IDM canons with releases like Truth Is Born Of Arguments, Playing With Time, The Revenant Diary to a wealth of notable collaborations and numerous side projects. Aurobindo: Involution was made with Seefeel’s Daren Seymour, a collaboration with Slowdive’s Neil Halstead and Nick Holton as Black Hearted Brother, work with Louis Sherman as Locust, Martin Maeers with Children of the Stones, and a plethora of remixes. Van Hoen’s new album Nightvision for Saint Marie Records finds the artist discovering modern day applications for his electro-droning visions of sound. Returning to form, Nightvision switches on the high and low beams that send scanning synths that drive through the infinite interstates through the engines of steady rhythm and the power steering smarts of serious synthesizers.“
1 The most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent; but if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death — however mutable man may be able to make them — our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light. – Stanley Kubrick
2 Truth Is Born Of Arguments – Arseny Tarkovsky
3 This is the meaning of life – continuously to add something we haven’t know so far. That, anyway, is the meaning of all existing things. Existence is built upon the idea of the creative – that there is always something unknown to be discovered, which causes and motivates new perception, new studies, the energy to go on. – Karlheinz Stockhausen
1. What is the biggest inspiration for your music?
I have always regarded the music I make as an expression of everything in my life – not just the influence of other music but the things happening in my life generally. The music has to be ‘about’ something, or a general expression of my current state. So I would have to say everything, as it affects me currently.
2. How and when did you get into making music?
I was initially inspired by the music of Gary Numan, Cabaret Voltaire, The Human League, Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk and Brian Eno and started recording music in 1980 using radios, reel to reel tape, cassette tapes and any electronic noise makers I could find. I bought my first synthesizer in 1982 I think. I was fascinated with the sounds these artists were making and later realized many of these sounds were familiar from my childhood when I heard the sounds from the nearby metal forge factories that I lived close to in Birmingham, England.
3. What are 5 of your favourite albums of all time?
David Bowie – Low
Stockhausen – Kontakte/Gesang der Jünglinge
Talk Talk – Laughing Stock
Can – Tago Mago
Brian Eno – Another Green World
4. What do you associate with Berlin?
Electronic music – the ‘Berlin School’ – Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Ash Ra Tempel, Bowie/Eno
My tour with Orbital in ’93 (playing at E-Werk)
Playing at Berghain in 2016
and of course the history and beauty of the city generally
5. What’s your favourite place in your town?
I enjoy the diversity of Echo Park and parts of downtown LA
6. If there was no music in the world, what would you do instead?
It’s impossible to imagine that, as sound is fundamental to life..vibrations and frequencies are the building blocks of all that exists, so it follows that the as soon as a species becomes evolved enough to develop culture, they will begin to use these forces to create art.
7. What was the last record/music you bought?
The sound track to ‘Good Times’ by Oneohtrix Point Never
8. Who would you most like to collaborate with?
Scott Walker, because he is one of the last people making new music that is not post-modern in any way.
9. What was your best gig (as performer or spectator)?
Kraftwerk, Computer World Tour in 1981
10. How important is technology to your creative process?
The term technology in music generally taken to mean cutting edge or recent advances…as such I could never keep up. Most people now understand that most all music is now made or recorded on computers, and it has ceased to be novel or different. The use of the studio as a musical instrument as (arguably) instigated by King Tubby is now common place and widespread..what I do with the manipulation of sound is now a familiar technique…but in the same way that there can be many guitar players, each has his or her own unique touch. The idea to me is that you should create your own sonic world and identity, in tandem with whatever you may do in rhythm, harmony and melody. Technology, whether it is a cello or a modular synthesizer is just a tool to express yourself.
11. Do you have siblings and how do they feel about your career/art?
I have more than 10 brothers and sisters. Most I think are unfamiliar with my music, but are happy that I make it. My eldest brother (who I never met) was a reggae musician in Jamaica for most of his life, and I often wonder if we had the opportunity to meet whether we may have made music together.
Mark van Hoen will perform at Monarch on Wednesday, 20th June 2018.
Photo credit: Crashing Through Publicity / Mark van Hoen